for Arts
& Culture
Theatre | Bristol

ACTA Community TheatreGet Together

acta is a community theatre company engaging people from marginalised communities from across Bristol in the creation and performance of their own original theatre, sharing their stories with audiences who rarely attend theatre.

acta delivers participatory theatre activities with community groups, training and mentoring community theatre facilitators, and contributes to sector development through CPD sessions and seminars.

Get Together is their local programme of arts activities and events for all ages. This case study focuses on the second Get Together programme that ran from 2015-2018 and was made up of the following main activities:

  • Making Time: an arts group for older people
  • acta Company: an evening community theatre group for adults
  • Phoenix Theatre: for young adults
  • Bedminster Youth Theatre: for young people
  • Community Choir: for all ages
  • The Thursdays: a daytime community theatre group for adults
ACTA Community Theatre

ACTA Community Theatre

ACTA Community Theatre

ACTA Community Theatre

Target Beneficiaries

Across all their work, acta aims to engage local people without privilege of all ages who are not connected to the cultural life of Bristol.

The aims of the Get Together programme are to:

  • tackle social isolation and loneliness
  • improve health and well-being
  • increase confidence and other transferable skills


Making Time: this evolved over the three years to ensure it was targeting the most isolated communities. The final model delivered weekly workshops with minibus transport and a hot meal provided. The participants worked together to create their own puppet show which they performed to local schoolchildren. It was delivered by acta’s Production Manager with another facilitator, supported by a team of volunteers.

acta Company: this weekly Monday evening activity focused on developing performance skills with participants creating and performing in community shows often focusing on local history and stories.

Phoenix Theatre: these weekly Thursday evening sessions were delivered by acta’s Associate Director alongside a second facilitator. Each year the activities culminated in a community show.

Bedminster Youth Theatre: performed an annual production and ran taster workshops across the summer to engage new participants. From the last year of activity this strand was delivered outside of the Get Together programme due to new funding for a youth theatre network from the Youth Investment Fund.

Community Choir: led by a freelance acta facilitator, the choir met weekly and performed in events at acta Centre. They also performed in the 2017 community play exploring Bedminster’s local mining heritage.

The Thursdays: met weekly to create and perform in community shows, including the 2017 play performing alongside the Community Choir.


During this study, acta:



Impact reported by participants





* confidence, communication skills, presentation skills, readiness for employment, self-esteem & motivation

acta reached

Key findings from each strand of activity:

Making Time: feedback made clear that participants felt less isolated with many valuing the opportunity to make new friends and build confidence. Facilitators also observed the impact on participant wellbeing.

Phoenix: in evaluation, this diverse group cited their love of acting, feeling welcome, improved confidence and self-esteem, and appreciated the social aspect.

Youth Theatre: over two thirds of the audience to their first year performance did not regularly attend theatre.

Community Choir: 2017 participant questionnaires gave overwhelmingly positive feedback; participants’ clear emphasis was on working together and a sense of community.

The Thursdays: 24 new beneficiaries joined the group to create a community play with 3 capacity performances. 81% of the audience were not regular theatre goers. Participants’ gained community and friendship and increased confidence from their involvement.


Following the programme, funding to continue was received from: Quartet Community Foundation (Making Time), Paul Hamlyn Foundation (The Thursdays)  and Nisbet Trust (Phoenix Theatre). The community choir continues as an independent organisation.


Should be available on the NHS!


acta has transformed Nicole’s life. There is no way she would have gone on stage before – it’s really brought her out of herself and built her confidence. … Her experiences will change the rest of her life for the better.



Big Lottery Fund – Reaching Communities